A fireplace mantel often serves as the focal point in a room. While factory made mantels are available, do-it-yourselfers with a well equipped shop can make one themselves from stock molding and medium density fiberboard or solid wood.
A router is used to flute the columns and cut the molded edge around the top. Apply crown molding under the shelf and baseboard around the base to give it a finished look. If starting from scratch is more than you want to tackle, consider buying a premade mantel shelf or kit.
I’m in the home of a buddy of mine, Scott, who’s a fairly avid woodworker and he created this whole fireplace mantel for less than $75.00 in materials. What he did is he went out to the home center and bought some stock crown molding and some MDF, which is a medium density fiberboard, a very commonly use material in cabinetry and mantels, and he used it to create a shelf part of the mantel.
He even put a nice little detail around the front using a router and a router bit. He also built these little fluted side pieces, which actually you can buy at the home center, and then he finished it with some wide base molding at the bottom and several coat to paint to make it look this nice.
Now, if you’re not as confident as Scott with your woodworking skills, you can buy an entire fireplace manual kit either online or at the home center. Make sure that you measure your fireplace so that you get the right sized kit. Then, when you have the kit, a little bit of layout, a little bit of cutting and assembling everything, then stain or paint, and it will look great.